Thursday 24 February 2011

Author's Animal Antics - Julie Kagawa

Author's Animal Antics is a regular blog feature here at Feeling Fictional where I'm very excited to have some fantastic authors come and chat to us about their pets or share animal related stories.  I'm thrilled to introduce the lovely Julie Kagawa as my guest today...


Hello, my name is Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron Fey series.  As a full-time writer, I'm often asked what I did before I was published.  The answer to that question is: a lot of things.  I worked as a clerk in a bookstore (which didn't go over so well; apparently, the managers frown upon reading books instead of shelving them), I was a pet store employee, I worked the desk at a veterinarian's office, and most recently, I was a dog trainer.

You might notice that most of my jobs either involved books or animals.  And you would be correct.  I love animals.  This probably comes from growing up on a farm and having every kind of pet imaginable: horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, ducks, cows, goats, and so on.  I've trained everything from horses and dogs, to parrots and cats.  Including a very special cat who helped me in my dog training classes and ultimately became the inspiration for Grimalkin.

He was a big, pure black cat named Shinobi (which is another word for "ninja".").  We adopted him from a rescue organization to keep our other cat (Sniper) company.  It quickly became clear that this cat was much smarter than your average feline.  I wondered how smart he really was so I decided to find out.  Using lunch meat and a clicker, I started short little training sessions with him.

It became quite clear that I wouldn't be able to train him the way I would a dog.  For one, while he was quite eager to work for lunch meat and pepperoni, it was only when he wanted to.  I couldn't force him to do anything, and when he decided we were done, we were done.  Still, he caught onto things faster then any dog I'd ever trained; he learned Sit in one session, Roll Over, Jump, Down, and Wave in a day.  I even got him to walk on a leash.

The greatest triumph came in one of my training classes, however.  I was working with a roomful of noisy, barking dogs, trying to explain the basics of clicker training, when one of the students asked, rather dubiously, if it would really work.  I brought Shinobi out, and in front of a dozen barking dogs, he performed all his tricks perfectly.

No one ever questioned me after that.  And people started coming into the store just to see the "trained cat."  Unfortunately, after a few weeks of this, Shinobi decided he'd had enough and simply stopped performing in public, no matter how much I begged.

So now he lives a life of luxury at home, playing with Sniper and our two dogs, his few weeks of fame behind him.  Sometimes, though, just for fun, I'll wave at him, just to see if he remembers.  And every so often, he waves back.

For more information on the Iron King and to find out about forthcoming releases from Mira Ink visit


Thank you so much for visiting today Julie, I'm so impressed you managed to get Shinobi to perform on command - especially in front of a room full of dogs!  I know how stubborn my cats are and I can't imagine them doing anything like that.  I'm very tempted to go out & buy a clicker and give it a try though :o)  Grimalkin is one of my favorite characters in The Iron King so it was really nice to find out more about the cat who helped bring him to life.

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined ...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six.  She has never quite fitted in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her little brother is taken, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

She could never have guessed the truth.  Meghan is the daughter of a faery king and a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will have to choose between a normal life and her magical destiny - and between her best friend and a darkly dangerous prince.

It's time for Meghan to enter the faery world...

Julie Kagawa is the author of the popular Iron Fey series that took the US by storm when it was released last year.  I've been wanting to read the series for what feels like forever so I was incredibly excited when book 1 The Iron King was released by Mira Ink in the UK in January.  Let me tell you now I really enjoyed the book (I'll be posting my full review later today so make sure you check back for more information) and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.  Luckily we don't have too long to wait book 2 The Iron Daughter will be out in the UK in April and book 3 The Iron Queen will be released in August.

If you'd like a chance to read a free ebook of The Iron King the Sunday Express is giving 1,000 copies away to UK readers.  Make sure you get hold of your copy quickly before they run out - you can find all of the details here.

Find out more about Julie and her work here - Julie's WebsiteThe Iron Fey Website / Blog / Twitter / The Iron Fey Facebook Page

For more information about the Author's Animal Antics feature click here

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